A message from the Rector.

The decision has been taken by the PCC Standing Committee to resume having two services each Sunday as from the beginning of September: the 8.45 am service will be Holy Communion, with sermon (alternating between Book of Common Prayer and Common Worship, as pre-covid), and the 10.30 am service will alternate (for the time being) between Communion (on the first and third Sundays of the month) and a Service of the Word (on the second and fourth Sundays). The 10.30 service will continue to be streamed live online.

The plan is (I hope) in this way to return to a much more familiar pattern of things. The layout of the church will return to its former arrangement, congregational singing will return (at 10.30 only for the time being) and groups for children and teenagers will also resume as part of the 10.30 service.

The ‘8.45’ will be a quieter service for the time being, and it is anticipated that there will be space in church at this service (for people who wish to) to maintain distance from one another. There will be no singing for now at 8.45, and we will refrain from sharing the sign of peace (sharing hands, etc.) at this service.

In September we will think about sharing the Peace at 10.30, but will need to work out how to do so sensitively so that people are not forced to shake hands if they currently prefer not to. (For instance, I personally will avoid shaking hands at the Peace for the moment if distributing Communion later in the service.) We may also, in due course, resume serving drinks after services (in church rather than in the tea-room, to maximise available ventilation); but this (as with other things) will depend on people being available to help.

We will not yet resume sharing the chalice for Communion (at either service), as this will require consent of all presiding clergy (who are canonically obliged to consume the remaining consecrated elements after each service), and this has not yet been sought.

Please note that we will continue to keep all the doors open during services, for the time being, to maximise available ventilation in the building.

Moving forward, we will continue to take care, as always, of people’s safety and health, and will continue our ongoing pattern of assessing the risks as situations change. Come September, with what is offered at the two morning services each Sunday, we very much hope that people will be encouraged to return to church, and that together we will begin to rediscover the benefits of being together (without that togetherness compromising our safety). We are not yet ‘back to normal’ by any means; but things are gradually changing, and we continue to hope and pray, while maintaining due care and attention.

Please do get in touch with me or the churchwardens if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

Blessings and all best wishes,